I am a self-confessed documentary f i e n d and I love nothing better than snuggling up in bed to watch something that’s going to open my eyes and actually make me think.
So when the good people at Panasonic* challenged me to share some of my favourite thought-provoking documentaries inspired by their new Panasonic wireless home cinema system, naturally I jumped at the chance.
Documentaries are a fascinating way to get a powerful glimpse into the worlds and minds of others. They tell the untold stories of people from around the world, stories that we might never hear about in the news.
They tell the stories of murder, war, injustice and niche pursuits. But most importantly, they allow us to think differently about the way we live and how others live, too.
So, without further ado, I want to share with you the six most thought-provoking documentaries that have both captivated me and changed the way that I think.
1. Stacey Dooley – Fashion’s Dirty Secrets
You may have heard about this documentary as it created waves across social media and in my view, it was one of the key catalysts to start the anti-fast-fashion movement.
As Stacey poignantly said in the documentary “It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that they don’t know. They’re not informed”
One of the scenes shows her doing a demonstration in Glasgow city centre to show the public how much water it can take to grow the cotton in their purchases. Just a simple pair of jeans can take up to 15,500 litres of water to make.
She also travels to the Aral Sea, a huge sea between North
Kazakhstan and South Uzbekistan that has all but dried up in just 40 years due to the excess cotton farming in the region – drastically affecting the quality of life for people who reside there.
It’s truly heartbreaking and really hammers home that the £20 dress you impulse buy from Boohoo on a Friday night really does have a much larger impact.
2. Dark Tourist with David Farrier
If like me, you have a bit of a fascination with weird sh*t then Dark Tourist undoubtedly is THE documentary series for you.
Watch journalist David Farrier as he travels far and wide to see the “dark tourism” hotspots of the world – from meeting Pablo Escobar’s enforcer in Colombia to an exorcism in Mexico and a town hit by severe radiation in Japan – there is nothing that David seems too scared to explore.
My favourite “WTF” moment was when he visited a group of people in New Orleans who genuinely live as, and believe themselves to be vampires – with all the blood-sucking and everything.
Whatever floats your boat, eh?
3. A Very British Brothel
A Very British Brothel is the holy grail of absolutely hilarious documentaries.
Filmed in my beloved city of Sheffield, A Very British Brothel follows the life of the owners and working girls of City Sauna – one of many brothels along the notorious area of Attercliffe.
I kid you not, this documentary is absolutely hilarious in every sense of the word. The whole set-up, coupled with the owner Cath’s northern wit makes this an absolute must watch documentary.
And if you can’t get enough from the first episode, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a follow-up too.
Blackfish is a hard-hitting documentary for any animal lover to watch, as it documents the life and death of orca whales that are kept in captivity for shows at SeaWorld.
Blackfish follows the story of the killer whale Tilikum. He was torn away from his family and taken from the ocean at just two years old and has spent 20 years in intensely isolated confinement.
Because of the lack of stimulation for these creatures in places such as SeaWorld, he has killed three humans during that time. Despite the name “killer whale”, orcas by nature are incredibly friendly and intuitive and to this day, there have been no accounts of one killing a human in the wild.
Blackfish is hard to watch but it highlights a real problem in the animal “family entertainment” industry that since the documentary aired, has educated the public and lawmakers to finally make some changes.
5. Sex Party Secrets
I feel like you’re all starting to learn a lot about my documentary tastes (lol) but another of my all-time favourite documentaries has to Channel 4’s look into the world of elite sex parties.
The documentary explores both the companies who organise them and the attractive and affluent people who go to have sex with others at them – both inside of couples and as single people.
This documentary is an interesting insight into the world of organised non-monogamy and what the thought-process really is behind the people who choose it.
6. Abducted in Plain Sight
By far one of the weirdest stories I have ever heard – Abducted in Plain Sight follows the story of the Broberg family, who live in a small, church-lead community and become close family friends with one of their neighbours.
Eventually, Robert Berchtold their neighbour abducts one of the Broberg’s children, Jan in a captivating series of events you have to watch to believe.
Honestly, you couldn’t make this sh*t up.
So, I really hope you’ve enjoyed this list but I’d love to know – what are your favourite, most thought-provoking documentaries of all time?
Until next time,
*This post was a paid collaboration with Panasonic. All views expressed are, as always, my own.